(Columbia) September 12, 2006 - With beautiful artwork, flowers and crystals around the room Palmetto Health's Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center hardly looks like a medical office.
At the center, they know every patient has some anxiety. That's why everything is focused on helping you relax. And WIS' Judi Gatson admitted she was a little nervous when she went in for her mammogram.
Every patient gets a private dressing room. Once Judi slipped on her gown, it was time for her exam.
The scans use minimal radiation. Although the procedure is awkward, getting in just the right position allows the radiologist to see more of the tissue and do a better job reading your scan.
Finally, you should know despite the pulling and squeezing it does not hurt.
Judi said, "It's not bad, it's really, you just feel awkward, you know, when you're in all these different configurations, but other than that it really isn't painful"
For our story Dr. Shawn Conwell read Judi's scan immediately, "Looking at your scan all I see is extremely dense breast. I don't see any suspicious masses."
But he was quick to point out that doesn't mean she's in the clear. "This is best tool we have for detecting breast cancer, hands down it is the best, but it is not perfect. We miss about 10 percent of breast cancers on mammograms, which is why it's very important that you get a yearly examination by a physician and that you do your monthly self examination."
The reason the doctor pointed out the breast density is because that makes it more difficult to find potential problems on the scans. So for those who have dense breasts, self-examinations are even more crucial.